The Learning Muscle Part II
December 5 2011
Welcome back! You’ve heard the term “brain food” and in part two of The Learning Muscle we take a look into how diet directly affects brain function.
There are certain foods that will give a tremendous boost to memory, energy and more if we increase our intake of them. As you may know, fish is at the top of this list, specifically red Salmon. Omega-3 amino acids, found fattier fish, certain nuts, seeds and eggs, are one of the best “brain foods” you can add to your diet as studies show Omega-3 amino acids are directly linked to cognitive (memory and performance) and behavioural brain functions.
The brain requires TWO TIMES the amount of energy than the other cells in the body. Crazy! Complex carbohydrates , found in beans, lentils, starchy vegetables, legumes, whole-grain breads and cereals, release glucose to fuel the brain. Mental exercise drains glucose, so feeding your glucose level throughout the day with complex carbs is a great way to keep energy levels up – mentally and physically.
Keeping hydrated is one of the top ways to benefit the body and mind. Not only does it oxygenate you but water helps remove toxins from your system. Coupling water with green tea makes for an even more powerful antioxidant. Remember to get your eight glasses a day.
MODERATION IS KEY
There are plenty of foods out there that can be damaging to your brain. This is not to say that you have to cut these things out of your life altogether, but keeping your body’s intake down will offer noticeable benefits to maintaining a more fit mental state.
Fast food is a common over-indulgence and its poor quality and high fat content (trans fats in particular) can disrupt brain communication, give way to brain cell degeneration and eventually diminish mental performance. Caffeine is another common overindulgence, especially with the growing popularity of energy drinks. Caffeine can last up to 12 hours in the body, if it’s in your system after you go to sleep it blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain which allow us to enter deeper sleep and rest properly.
Check back soon for Part III where we’ll explore the importance of stress reduction and stimulating your senses to enhance your learning muscle! As always, feel free to post your comments and questions below.